March is the best month to see the Sandhill cranes in Nebraska. This annual event seems to be perfectly coincide with spring break. How I wish I was posting my own pictures of viewing the migration. Every year I hope to get to go see these birds in person. For now, due to an overly busy schedule, I have to be content with just seeing these beautiful migratory birds in pictures. Maybe this is not the case for you. Maybe by telling you all about how you can see these cranes up close and personal, you will take the time to go. Maybe I can just live vicariously through you. (Seriously – if any of you do go, please post a picture or two on the Facebook page. Please. Pretty please.)
To go see the Sandhill Cranes in person, you will first want to check out Nebraska Flyaway. This wonderful site shows all of the possibilities if you want to know the best options for crane viewing. Plus they pass along a few pointers in crane ettiquite to help everyone have a great time seeing the cranes. Here is a breakdown of where to find the cranes.
Not surprisingly, the Crane Trust (Alda/Wood River) specializes in giving you wonderful crane viewing opportunities. Between group tours, footbridge viewing as well as overnight blind and VIP experiences, you have lots of options. You can also hike the nature trails and enjoy the visitor’s center.
Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary (Gibbon) has a variety of tours ranging from a simple guided tour to photography tours to the option of staying overnight in specially created blinds. Depending on which option most appeals to you determines the timing and the fees. To attend an event with kids, set up a group tour. That seems to be the most affordable and the most fun. What kid wouldn’t enjoy a CSI (Crane Scene Investigation)? Discovery packs are also available for young hikers!
You also may be able to view some of the cranes if you visit Fort Kearny State Recreational Area.
Want the ultimate week-end experience? You should attend the Nebraska Crane Festival which happens every year. To attend the March 17-20th event, you do need to register. Evidently being the early bird is important as many options are already sold out.
Unable to go see the cranes in person this year? Check out this special from the Crane Trust.